Tales from the Trail

Antonio was there in spirit

July 9, 2010

villaraigosaDemocrat Jerry Brown, finding himself in an unexpected tug-of-war over Latino voters with Republican Meg Whitman in the California governor’s race, this week gathered more than a dozen top Latino lawmakers and officials to his side to demonstrate their solidarity with his campaign.

Among them were state senators and assembly members, local officials and even U.S. Congressoman Xavier Becerra, who traveled all the way from Washington, D.C. to show his support for Brown during the campaign stop at California State University, Los Angeles, organizers said.

But missing was one of  the nation’s best-known Latino politician, whose office is just a few miles down the freeway: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa — who campaigned so hard for Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary that some wags wondered if he had enough time left over to run America’s second-largest city.

The high-profile mayor’s absence begs the question: Was Villaraigosa not invited by Brown? Did Villaraigosa snub him?

The mayor’s office assures us that neither is the case, saying it was simply a “scheduling conflict” and pointing out that Villaraigosa had endorsed Brown, the state’s attorney general who served as California governor from 1975 to 1983, and had made remarks supporting him at the California Democratic Conventi0n in April.Jerry

Spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said Villaraigosa had meetings to attend and was with members of the Obama administration at an event to promote its Great Outdoors Initiative. 

A press deputy for Brown also dismissed the idea of a snub, pointing out that the two men were together earlier in the day at a press conference to announce the arrest of an accused serial killer dubbed the Grim Sleeper.

“We have a solid relationship with (Mayor Villaraigosa) and we appreciate his support,” Brown’s spokesman said.

Case closed.

Photo credits: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni (Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaks in April at a rally in support of May Day pro-immigration rallies) Reuters/ Robert Galbraith (California Attorney General Jerry Brown talks to a group of photographers outside his home in Oakland)

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